Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Growth of Corporate Sustainability in 2013

Despite ongoing economic difficulties around the globe corporate spending on sustainability is expected to increase in 2013. However, we still have a long way to go before sustainability is where it needs to be to reverse our dangerous trajectory towards runaway climate change.

A Verdantix study indicates that corporate spending on sustainability, environmental, and energy programmes is likely to rise between one and nine percent next year. While this is trending in the right direction, it is nowhere near enough to arrest growing levels of greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts.

As reported in a BusinessGreen article, around the world almost half of the 250 senior sustainability executives polled indicated that they expect spending to increase in 2013. An additional 39 percent said they expect sustainability spending to be flat.

In the UK almost two thirds of sustainability executives said that they expect spending to increase next year. Verdantix chief executive David Metcalfe believes that we will see robust growth in sustainability spending in Britain. "[W]e still expect to see the UK market for energy, environment, and sustainability programmes have a compound annual growth rate of 14 per cent between 2010 and 2015," Mecalfe said.

However, one glaring concern exposed by the survey is the fact that sustainability executives do not have budgetary control. The survey also revealed that only 20 percent of sustainability executives believe their CEO understands the direct impact sustainability on their business. Another half do not believe that their CEO's acknowledge sustainability as a top priority.

Some of the areas that can anticipate robust growth are:
  • smart grid
  • energy systems integration
  • distributed generation projects
  • sustainable product design
  • collaborative or shared consumption models
  • corporate reporting initiatives
Areas that are predicted to be slow growing include:
  • electric vehicles
  • corporate water stewardship programmes
  • carbon offset schemes
  • onsite renewables
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